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Old 4th May 2017
e1-531g e1-531g is offline
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Default Methods, rules for backup personal data

Hello,
I would like to know whether you follow any formal rules backing up yours data? I am interested on more abstract rules than details. Lets say "three-two-one rule". Do anybody use this rule? Maybe this rule is a overkill?
I mean valuable digital data. For example I have settled the PIT tax via Internet and I am obligated, by law, to keep proof of that for five years.
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Old 4th May 2017
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I am a Tarsnap customer, so my data is stored in 3 external datacenters.

Based on your referenced 3-2-1 model, I'm using 3-nope-3.
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Old 5th May 2017
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Like jggimi I also use Tarsnap. Have for many years.

Last year I lost a lot of files I care about.

Here's what happened: tarsnap is strongly encrypted with a key file which is (optionally) protected with a passphrase. I set a randomly generated passphrase for my key file and stored this in my password manager. So far so good.

I store almost everything I care about in /data/stuff/; this contains a lot of, well, "stuff", including the password manager database. Due to an extremely stupid fat-fingered mistake on my part I issued a rm -r /data/stuff, blowing away most of that directory before I could ^C it.

"No worries, 'sall good!", I thought, since I had a recent backup! I tried to restore it, and realized I had a problem when it asked for passphrase. My password database was removed. I could restore it from the backup, but I needed access to ... the password database. Due to the strong encryption, there is no way this data can ever be recovered.

A backup is only as good as the weakest link, and in my case the weakest link was that the passphrase was stored in only one location. Oops :-(
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Old 5th May 2017
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I have a simple system. Two sets of backup files on two portable hard-drives. I also have copies of really important files on discs, just in case.
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Old 5th May 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
Last year I lost a lot of files I care about.
I considered key management very carefully. MWL's Tarsnap Mastery (ISBN 9780692400203) was very helpful.

Each of my systems has two keys - one with a passphrase and one without. The key without passphrase is used for automated backups (I use ACTS).

All "master" keys -- those with passphrases -- are replicated to all systems.

A paper copy of each master key is stored in a desk drawer at $DAYJOB. If needed, the paper copy can be scanned and OCR used to recover a key. Paper was chosen as being longer term storage than USB stick or optical media. As the paper key is a master and requires a passphrase ... I don't even bother to lock the drawer.
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Old 9th May 2017
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For General Data Backup Use
How long would you use before replacing "USB" stilcks ?
How long would you use before replacing "CD-DVD" data disc's ?
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Old 10th May 2017
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While I don't ever use USB sticks as long term storage -- the devices do not have sufficient lifespans and their failures are almost always catastrophic -- I do have some old optical media that I used to use for backup. I don't trust any of them for archival purposes now. Some discs that were burned 20 years ago are still readable; some that were burned 10 years ago are completely unreadable.
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Old 30th June 2017
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Throwing my two cents in here because no one has said it:
If you care about long-term storage, there is really no other option than tape (though, if you're only going to care for 5-10 years, then spinning HDD is OK too). In my research group, we constant talk about forever-storage, and it saddens me that tape isn't thought of more often as this is exactly its use case.
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Old 23rd July 2017
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I use bcrypt to encrypt my password files and have learned to keep copies on more than one flash drive.

The only problem being, if I encrypt them on FreeBSD that's the only version of bcrypt I've been able to decrypt them with. I have a couple versions on my OpenBSD box but so far haven't been able to get it to decrypt my files.

Other less important files I keep in plain text on at least one USB stick, but it if it went down it wouldn't be the end of the world. Things like system files I can copy off when rebuilding my system instead of typing them out, images, docs I accumulate, ebooks, etc.
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